Asparagus -tell me everything!

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Queen Bee, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would like to start asparagus this yr. I have never grown it. I have no idea what var. to plant, when and where. How do you control grasses and weeds? Please give me any advice you can and thank you for the help. Debbie
     
  2. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a commercial grower or expert, though I have grown good asparagus.
    Buying rootstock will save you a year, so you can pick a few stalks the following season after planting. You want your asparagus bed to establish with ferny growth through the summer and get that solid root established before picking a lot of quantity. I've picked a good amount from a 50 foot row, but I planted 4 rows like that because of wanting a lot for freezing or processing. They sell good in farmer's market if you want that.

    Plant 3' apart. For each root dig down about a foot. Mound up a hill in that hole so your root spreads out over it like an octopus. Cover with soil so the crown is buried about 3 inches.
    Viking and Martha Washington were varieties I planted from root. There are also purple varieties and strains that are male plants which form big stalks too. Jersey is one, if I remember.

    I also had good success planting from seed in 6" peat pots in warm soil. This way you can have more choice in the varieties and are not that hard to grow. Once rooted, they form a ferny growth. Once about a foot high in those pots, transplant into the ground and let it establish for the next season. The seed plants should take about a year longer, but it's worth it. Asparagus loves neutral to slighlty alkaline soil and well endowed with nutrients such as rotted manure or compost. Add a lot of this to get good plants and add more after picking. Stalks are picked by cutting close at the ground with a sharp knife. Always leave a few stalks from each plant to grow into the frond so that it can synesized stronger top and root growth for the following season. The bed should last you many years. Keep weeds out, and the worst is twichgrass or quack grass. That will choke out your bed the worst as I've sorely found out.

    Good luck. Love asparagus. :worship:
     

  3. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    You can also grow asparagus from seed but it takes longer. Have plenty of mulch to keep weeds out.
     
  4. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    I've got a half acre of asparagus and sell some of it in town each year.

    Got my roots directly from the grower -- jerseyasparagus.com
    Much cheaper than the catalogs. By all means, go with the jersey hybrid. They are nearly all male plants and don't waste energy on making seeds.

    Plant before May 1, if possible, to give them a good start.

    I followed the grower's directions and planted mine 12-15" apart in rows 5' apart. Keep roots wet til planted. Plant them in a trench about 8-10" deep and cover with a few inches of soil at first. Water. As plants emerge, gradually cover them over the summer. They do like a lot of rotted manure. They also are heavy feeders of calcium. Their roots go down like alfalfa, to about 10', so they tend to survive dry summers better than other crops.

    Weeds are a problem and you can either hand weed or there is a corn based herbicide that I hear is effective. Asparagus doesn't like harsh chemicals. You can also mulch heavily with rotted straw, etc. They will tolerate a very heavy mulch and will just grow right thru it. Just expect a later start.

    Plant more than you think you need. It freezes nicely. Figure each plant, after a few years maturing, will yield about 1/2-3/4 lb. per 8-week season.

    The website will also answer any of your asparagus questions.

    Go for it...
     
  5. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank you for all the information.. I am excited about this season.. It's been 70*+ for about 3 weeks and I am ready to get started :haha: BUT I know winter will be here soon and I will have to pay for these beautiful days. :no: